Chevron Burning Rig Causing Health Problems

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A Nigerian doctor in the country's Delta said pollution caused by the two-week fire at a Chevron natural gas rig is making local people sick, as scores of dead fish wash up on shore, and a local health facility is overrun by those seeking medical treatment.

A 12-bed health clinic has been overrun by villagers and fishermen with skin and gastrointestinal irritations following the accidental ignition of natural gas on a shallow off-shore rig more than two weeks ago, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Chevron maintains government and company monitoring of the area shows there is no evidence of significant impacts to the environment.

The rig has since sunk, but the fire still rages above the surface of the water. As of Monday morning, Chevron said it did not know how much longer the fire will continue, but said the flames are diminishing. The company has also announced it finalized its plans late last week to drill a relief well that will kill off the flames and seal the well.

Chevron said it continues to monitor the area for environmental impacts and said it has given food and supplies to communities "in the area to recognize the help and support that they have given the company."

Two contractors died in the fire that engulfed the entire rig. The cause of the fire is not fully known.

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